No Depression

Uncle Tupelo's No Depression and Reviews of Black Keys & Lykke Li

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The song contest/political science experiment called Eurovision took place on Saturday. Jim and Greg have been looking forward to the weird and wonderful phenomenon since speaking with expert John Kennedy O'Connor last month—and Eurovision 2014 did not disappoint. This year's prize went to "Rise Like a Phoenix," a power ballad belted by Austrian diva Conchita Wurst, the drag persona of Mr. Thomas Neuwirth. But the real star of the evening? Politics. Though some considered Wurst's win a victory for tolerance, it outraged conservatives in countries like Russia and Belarus. Meanwhile, Russia and Ukraine turned the conflict over Crimea into a fight for the spotlight, and the audience showed disdain for Putin by booing the Russian act. Americans may not“get”Eurovision, but 180 million viewers can't be all wrong…

In other bizarre international news is a story from the New York Times. Apparently the people of China have gotten used to saying "goodbye"—or, more to the point, "get out!"—to the dulcet tones of one Kenny G. All across China, the elevator jazz giant's 1989 hit "Going Home" is played at malls, gyms, libraries, and even wedding banquets to signal the day's end. Many don‘t know the song’s name, but they know to pack up and leave once it starts playing. And while China's non-existent royalty policy means that the sax-man makes very little off his ubiquitous tune, Kenny has taken it in stride, joking that at Chinese concerts, he plays“Going Home”last to keep people from leaving early. Greg thinks that China has managed some impressive social engineering—almost Pavlovian, says Jim. But our hosts can sympathize: Hearing Kenny G makes them evacuate the premises, too.

interview

Mike Heidorn of Uncle Tupelo

You can trace alternative country's roots to the 1960's when rock musicians such as Gram Parsons, The Byrds and the Flatlanders began dabbling with and reinvigorating country music. It was part of a wider investigation of American roots music in rock, a move toward more“authentic”styles. These rockers looked to country greats like Hank Williams, The Carter Family, Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard for inspiration — Bob Dylan famously collaborated with Cash on "Girl From the North Country." In the '70s and early '80s, a new generation of punk rockers started digging into traditional country for inspiration, including X, The Mekons, Rank & File, Jason and the Scorchers and the Long Ryders. Then third wave of alt country hit in the late '80s and early '90s, led by The Jayhawks out of Minneapolis and Uncle Tupelo, the trio of Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy and Mike Heidorn, out of Belleville, Illinois, just outside St. Louis. Uncle Tupelo's debut album,“No Depression,”took its name from a Carter Family song, "No Depression in Heaven," and it's one of many the key albums in defining the alt-country movement of this era. We have this band to thank for groups like Farrar's Son Volt, Tweedy's Wilco, Ryan Adams' Whiskeytown, the Drive-By-Truckers and the Old 97's …and not to mention No Depression Magazine. Legacy Recordings recently reissued No Depression, complete with some never before released demo tracks from 1987 to 1989. And to talk about it, Jim and Greg are joined by Uncle Tupelo's founding drummer Mike Heidorn.

reviewTurn BlueTurn Blue available on iTunes

The Black Keys Turn Blue

The Black Keys have grown from an underground band from Akron, Ohio to an act filling arenas across the country. The sound has changed as well. On Turn Blue, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have evolved from a Zeppellin-esque blues stomp to something more nuanced, orchestrated and keyboard-based. Jim thinks the band is mainly successful when it channels psychedelic blues. But, he wants more stomp and says Try It rating. Greg is even less enthusiastic about Turn Blue and thinks that some of the experimentation is“half-baked.”Still, he likes the high points, and there are enough of them to warrant a Try It rating, as well.

JimGreg
reviewI Never LearnI Never Learn available on iTunes

Lykke Li I Never Learn

Swedish singer/songwriter Lykke Li blends acoustic rock with electronic elements and heartfelt lyrics. Her latest album, I Never Learn, was eagerly anticipated by Jim and Greg, as both were fans of her last release Wounded Rhymes. Jim thinks this latest effort is just short of a masterpiece. He's particularly drawn to the juxtaposition of the emotional lyrics and the spare arrangements. Buy It, he says. Greg is as so spellbound. He's let down by Lykke Li's lyrics and wishes she went back to a slightly more orchestrated style to mask her discomfort with English. He gives the record a Try It rating.

JimGreg

Featured Songs

  1. Conchita Wurst, Rise Like a Phoenix (Live at Eurovision 2014), Eurovision Song Contest 2014 Copenhagen, Universal, 2014
  2. Kenny G, Going Home, The Collection, Arista, 1993
  3. Uncle Tupelo, Graveyard Shift, No Depression, Rockville, 1990
  4. Uncle Tupelo, John Hardy, No Depression, Rockville, 1990
  5. The Clash, I'm So Bored with the U.S.A., The Clash, CBS, 1977
  6. Uncle Tupelo, No Depression (1988 Demo), No Depression: Legacy Edition, Legacy, 2014
  7. Uncle Tupelo, Factory Belt, No Depression, Rockville, 1990
  8. Uncle Tupelo, Outdone (1989 Demo), No Depression: Legacy Edition, Legacy, 2014
  9. Uncle Tupelo, Whiskey Bottle (1989 Demo), No Depression: Legacy Edition, Legacy, 2014
  10. Uncle Tupelo, Flatness, No Depression, Rockville, 1990
  11. Uncle Tupelo, Life Worth Livin', No Depression, Rockville, 1990
  12. Uncle Tupelo, Screen Door, No Depression, Rockville, 1990
  13. Uncle Tupelo, Train, No Depression, Rockville, 1990
  14. Uncle Tupelo, Blues Die Hard (1987 Cassette Demo), No Depression: Legacy Edition, Legacy, 2014
  15. Uncle Tupelo, I Got Drunk (1989 Demo), No Depression: Legacy Edition, Legacy, 2014
  16. Uncle Tupelo, Sin City, No Depression, Rockville, 1990
  17. The Black Keys, Fever, Turn Blue, Nonesuch, 2014
  18. The Black Keys, Weight of Love, Turn Blue, Nonesuch, 2014
  19. Lykke Li, Love Me Like I'm Not Made of Stone, I Never Learn, Atlantic, 2014
  20. Lykke Li, No Rest for the Wicked, I Never Learn, Atlantic, 2014
  21. The Flashbulb, Dead on the 4th of July, Nothing Is Real, Alphabasic, 2014
  22. Wolf Parade, Language City, At Mount Zoomer, Sub Pop, 2008
  23. Propagandhi, A Speculative Fiction, Potemkin City Limits, Fat Wreck Chords, 2005
  24. Buddy Guy, First Time I Met The Blues, Buddy's Blues (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection), Chess, 1997
  25. John Lee Hooker, Boogie Chillen', Boogie Chillen' (Single), Modern, 1948

Footnotes

youtube.com Conchita Wurst bbc.co.uk Eurovision soundopinions.org Sound Opinions talks Eurovision cnn.com Wurst wins Eurovision rollingstone.com From Russia, no love nytimes.com Kenny G for“Goodbye” youtube.com“Going Home”live in China simplypsychology.org Pavlov's Dogs amazon.com No Depression Legacy Edition nodepression.com No Depression Magazine wilcobook.com Greg's Wilco book moderndrummer.com Mike Heidorn theblackkeys.com The Black Keys chicagotribune.com Greg reviews Black Keys wbez.org Jim reviews Black Keys lykkeli.com Lykke Li